How to Cut Back Your Utility Bills
Winter is coming and so for those that don’t know how to live frugal, those huge utility bills… but it doesn’t have to be that way! With a few small changes, you can save a lot of money on the cost of your utilities.
Your utility bills are one of those grin and bear it types of monthly payments. They’re expected, sometimes anticipated, and rarely appreciated. Well, rather than suffer in silence, there are real frugal steps you can take to cut back on those utility bills. And you can do it without living in the dark and suffering uncomfortable home temperatures. Here’s how:
1. Turn down the temperature. No, not the temperature in your home, the temperature on your hot water heater. The less your hot water heater has to work, the more money and energy you save. It’s also safer to keep the hot water setting lower. Wash your clothing on cold or warm, use the recycle option on your dishwasher and only run it when it’s full. Take shorter showers and stop leaving the faucet running. The more your water heater has to heat the water, the more money you’re spending.
2. Let the sunshine in. This is of course only a policy in the cooler months. The heat from the sun’s rays can warm your home five, ten, sometimes even fifteen degrees, depending on the time of day. This can save your furnace a lot of extra effort and energy. It’ll also save you good money each month.
(During the summertime, keep the sun’s rays out to keep your home cooler.)
3. Give them a tune up. Any appliances that use electricity or gas should be maintained. That includes your refrigerator, hot water heater, furnace, air conditioner, stove and even your grill if it runs off of your gas line. Make sure they’re in good operating shape. Make sure you’re not losing energy or efficiency. This means regular cleaning and routine tune ups.
4. Run your heat generating appliances during the evening. During the warm summer months, try not to run the dishwasher, stove or washing machine during the day. They kick out heat when they’re running and that makes your air conditioner have to work extra hard. During the winter months, however, you can capitalize on household chores to help heat the home. For example, using the oven to bake can also help heat the room, making the central heat run less.
5. Eliminate phantom load. When your appliances and electronics are turned off, they still use energy. In fact, they use a lot of energy. It’s said that if everyone unplugged their computers and laptops at night they’d save enough energy to power 100,000 homes. Experts say if you eliminate your phantom load, you can cut your energy bill by 10%.
That’s a pretty significant savings, particularly when you look at the savings over time. Plug electronics into smart strips and turn off the strip at night.
6. Don’t heat (or cool during the summer months) rooms that you don’t use. Close the door, cover the vents, etc. If the room isn’t used, there’s no need to spend money heating (or cooling) it. Also if you are gone all day working, and no one is home (or no pets, etc.), turn the heat down to a lower setting and make it more comfortable once you are home. After all, if you are gone all day, why keep the house toasty warm with no one there?
Many of the recommendations for saving energy still hold true. You can save a ton by getting a programmable thermostat, turning off the lights when you leave the room and by adjusting your thermostat to save energy. These additional frugal tips and steps will help you take your money further and lower your utility bills year around.